Random Plant: Hairy white oldfield aster

Flower of a hairy white oldfield aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum, Asteraceae), photographed 09/17/2010 near Manitou Beach Michigan.

Hairy white oldfield aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum, Asteraceae) is very common in eastern North America and is generally considered a weed.  Despite this, the red shoots and small yet showy flowers are somewhat attractive.

Flowers, leaves, and shoots of a hairy white oldfield aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum, Asteraceae), photographed 09/17/2010 near Manitou Beach Michigan.

The name is quite a mouthful, but with nearly 26,000 species in the family Asteraceae, it can become necessary to get somewhat descriptive.  The “hairy” part of the name comes from the white hairs on the shoots (visible near the top of the second photo).  The “white” part is obvious.  The “oldfield” part may suggest this plant’s tendency to grow up in fallow fields or other disturbed areas.

This plant used to be among about 600 other species in the genus Aster, but molecular studies in the last two decades have resulted in a split of this genus into several others.  Despite this aster being moved to the genus Symphyotrichum, that genus still contains about 90 species.  Many of them look very similar and it can be difficult to distinguish them.

Advertisements

About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Random Plant and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s